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Turn of Mind
A first novel that is both lyrical and shocking.
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Was this story believable? Does it matter?

Created: 05/22/12

Replies: 25

Posted May. 22, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
christy's Gravatar
christy

Join Date: 05/22/12

Posts: 41

Was this story believable? Does it matter?

Being a doctor trained to diagnose and treat neurological problems put me at a bit of a disadvantage: I feel like I know too much and found myself trying to 'subtype' her symptoms (an annoying feature of doctors...). That being said, even when I had some difficulty with the plausibility of the story I would still find it compelling. The author was 'true' to surgeon 'jargon' and medical-speak when she needed to be so there was not a credibility-leak. This was important not to 'lose me in the details' of a subject I know well but I realize I am overly-critical when it comes to medical portrayals. In spite of a few lapses, the bottom line is that this gruesome tale is intensely believable in an absurd way and for that I thought it excelled.


Posted May. 22, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
gaili

Join Date: 10/13/11

Posts: 9

RE: Was this story believable? Does it matter?

I think the symptoms of the dementia were accurately portrayed. I think the ending and the circumstances f the murder had some implausible portions, but it made for a surprising ending.


Posted May. 22, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
karenr

Join Date: 12/10/11

Posts: 13

RE: Was this story believable? Does it matter?

I thought the murder part of the story and how it played out in the end was a bit far-fetched, but to me that didn't matter. The parts of the story that were believable were the progression of the deteriorating mind, the complexity of relationships, the emotions of everyone touched by Dr. White's disease.


Posted May. 23, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
mbt1963

Join Date: 10/28/11

Posts: 7

RE: Was this story believable? Does it matter?

I did think the story was believable. I felt sometimes, while reading that I was getting a little lost myself. I would have to take a break and start at a different time.


Posted May. 23, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
jacquelynh

Join Date: 06/14/11

Posts: 34

RE: Was this story believable? Does it matter?

Unfortunately, this story is very believable. If the reader has had no experience with dementia, he or she may feel it far fetched, but, it isn't far fetched in the slightest. Dementia can take many turns and present itself many ways in one person and is a hard experience for the caretaker. This book did an excellent job portraying a sad and difficult experience.


Posted May. 23, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
lisag

Join Date: 01/12/12

Posts: 298

Expert

RE: Was this story believable? Does it matter?

I've never spent time with anyone suffering from dementia but have read accounts written by others. John Bayley's book about living with his wife Iris Murdoch's - another writer, of course - decline into dementia was heartbreaking and made Next to Love feel authentic. That's as close as my experience really gets, though.

As for the murder, I'm not sure. Dementia patients are capable of doing nearly anything without realizing the import and also forget things immediately. From that standpoint the story works. And it's believable Jennifer wouldn't lose her knowledge from having been a doctor, too. So yes, I think it is believable. Frighteningly so.


Posted May. 24, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
ritah

Join Date: 05/26/11

Posts: 16

RE: Was this story believable? Does it matter?

The Alzheimer's portrayal and medical/surgical were believable. I am not so certain about the murder scenario. I do believe that it portrayed the depths of motherly love in handling the murder piece, i.e., a mother will do most anything for her child. This was particularly impactful as Jennifer was not the best role model for motherhood...or was she? Despite the appearance that she was a high-powered career woman, her children were devoted to her even when young and did not appear so devoted to their father. Or were they just good at manipulating their mother for their own ends? Or was she all they had and even a bad or disinterested mother is better than none at all?


Posted May. 25, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
dorothyt

Join Date: 04/10/11

Posts: 102

Expert

RE: Was this story believable? Does it matter?

Yes, it felt believable to me. And yes, I think it does matter in a story like this.


Posted May. 26, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
judyg

Join Date: 04/20/11

Posts: 3

RE: Was this story believable? Does it matter?

Yes, believable! Having observing the Alzheimer journey with my father-in-law and walking the journey with my mother, I felt the author gave me their perspectives to match with my own. Reading the book actually gave me some closure in my thinking about what it was like for my Mom. Believability mattered because so many people know these stories today, including the humorous, the good, bad and ugly sides of the story.


Posted May. 27, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
jww

Join Date: 05/31/11

Posts: 82

Expert

RE: Was this story believable? Does it matter?

Much too believable. That is why it is such a terrifying book. I don't think it's power would have been so great if it had not been believable. The facts of the death of Amanda were less important than what Jennifer did in her state of dememtia.


Posted May. 29, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
marganna

Join Date: 10/14/11

Posts: 23

RE: Was this story believable? Does it matter?

The dementia story is totally believable, unfortunate on a real basis; fortunate for an author. The murder, although it could have definitely have happened, this part of the story line was weak. The author had plenty to say about Alzheimer's and used a technique to carry that story along. I "enjoyed" the "novel" aspect of the book - could have been a thriller - and that made reading about someone, once powerful and important, losing all that matter to her. Without the story line, it would have been just a really sad, sad story.


Posted May. 30, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Ann S

Join Date: 11/13/11

Posts: 9

RE: Was this story believable? Does it matter?

I agree that the details about Amanda's death impacts the book much less than the progression of dementia for Jennifer. Amanda's death provides an avenue for the author, but in the end it is a story of a family and how dementia affects them.


Posted May. 30, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Ann S

Join Date: 11/13/11

Posts: 9

RE: Was this story believable? Does it matter?

I agree that the details about Amanda's death impacts the book much less than the progression of dementia for Jennifer. Amanda's death provides an avenue for the author, but in the end it is a story of a family and how dementia affects them.


Posted May. 30, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
sweeney

Join Date: 05/24/11

Posts: 32

RE: Was this story believable? Does it matter?

I am not intimately involved with anyone who has dementia or alzheimers, but from everything that I have read, and discussions with folks who are more involved...I certainly believed the situation.


Posted Jun. 01, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
debracoley

Join Date: 08/11/11

Posts: 69

Expert

RE: Was this story believable? Does it matter?

Oh, yes! I know someone who committed her husband who suffers from a form of dementia; he is
literally starving himself to death as he grieves for his wife and family. No feeding tubes per his pre-dementia wishes! As I read this novel, I could not help but KNOW this man, like Jennifer, clings to hope and knows-is aware- of his hopeless situation. It is frightening to have even a glimmer of reality, but one cannot act or react in a positive manner. Likewise, maybe Jennifer chose NOT to respond/react to save herself.


Posted Jun. 02, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
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catherinem

Join Date: 10/06/11

Posts: 23

RE: Was this story believable? Does it matter?

Yes, LaPlante's story is believable and it does matter. Having recently lost my mother to complications from Alzheimer's disease, I focused on that part of the story; however, I did see analogous themes of loss and disconcertedness across plot lines: Jennifer's mental deterioration, her fractured relationships with her family, and the unsolved and perplexing murder of her best friend Amanda.


Posted Jun. 03, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
jm

Join Date: 06/03/12

Posts: 4

RE: Was this story believable? Does it matter?

I found the book believable, though I'm in agreement with several others here - the authentic sense of family, relationships, and challenges inherent in loss of memory is what this book is about, for me. The murder was less successful, so to speak, but it worked fine in terms of providing a way to move the story and create suspense.


Posted Jun. 05, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
shirleyf

Join Date: 04/25/11

Posts: 23

RE: Was this story believable? Does it matter?

The progression of the disease and the confusion that Jennifer experienced throughout the book were quite believable. However, her rendition of events were really not the thoughts of a dementia patient and it bothered me somewhat because I know that an Alzheimer's pt could not pull together the abstract thinking required to process the events of her life. That being said, the story line and interactions were pretty consistent with what I know of dementia. The weakest part of the story was the murder - I doubt if Jennifer could have gotten her act together enough to do the job although the reasons were valid enough. It advanced the plot - we were introduced to it at the beginning and the murder made a compelling reason to continue reading - but I think it was a stretch.


Posted Jun. 09, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
KB

Join Date: 05/03/12

Posts: 2

RE: Was this story believable? Does it matter?

I watched my father go down the path of Dementia. I found the descriptions of dementia very believable. I often wondered how much he knew during that journey, and once he stopped responding to us whether that was a memory issue or the fact that his brain was affected in such a way that he could not verbalized his thoughts. I'm not so sure he would have been able to comprehend the situation as Jennifer did. She seemed too far gone to think of severing Amanda's fingers to retrieve the medal. Maybe that thought was planted, and maybe she simple reacted. For the most part, I felt the story was believable. We're it not, I don't think the book would have had the same impact.


Posted Jun. 10, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
daylenas

Join Date: 04/20/12

Posts: 2

RE: Was this story believable? Does it matter?

I had a difficult time believing some of the events in the story, but as soon as I opened up and viewed it as a work of fiction I was able to get more of the suspense and mystery. I did have to work at letting go of some of my questions, though.


Posted Jun. 12, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Alice LaPlante

Join Date: 06/05/12

Posts: 11

RE: Was this story believable? Does it matter?

I'm so glad to hear that most of you found the dementia part of the book to be believable. That's the part that mattered to me--catching the essence of what I imagined my mother was going through. Not that there's anything autobiographical about the book--I deliberately kept all "real" events in my mother's decline out of the book, and made up everything that happened in the plot.

I also agree that the murder was the weakest part of the book--to me, now, looking back, I see it as a trail of breadcrumbs through a very dark forest that no one (including me) would ever, ever enter unless they knew they had a way out again (the climax to the murder). This leads me to a question I've wanted to ask readers: If the book didn't have the tensions and suspense of a murder mystery, would you have read it? Or would you have put it down as too depressing?


Posted Jun. 12, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
sweeney

Join Date: 05/24/11

Posts: 32

RE: Was this story believable? Does it matter?

I think that the book needed an event or something to draw us through the journey; just moving in and out of the memories of the main character would seem a little pointless...and, of course the journey would not have ended the way it did. I don't think that it matters that it was a bit of a misled journey; it provided a means to show the deterioration of the main character.


Posted Jun. 12, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
karenr

Join Date: 12/10/11

Posts: 13

RE: Was this story believable? Does it matter?

The book would have had just as much value/impact on me without the murder mystery. Granted, part of the lure was to get to the end to see 'who dunnit' but the deterioration of the main character's mind and the psychology of it all was riveting enough. Perhaps sidelights could have been more development of her children's characters, their struggles and how their mother's illness affected their day to day lives. It was a wonderful book and one I continue to think about. I look forward to your next book, Alice!


Posted Jun. 13, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
dorothyt

Join Date: 04/10/11

Posts: 102

Expert

RE: Was this story believable? Does it matter?

I liked the murder mystery element of the book. It made me question just how far Jennifer's mental deterioration had gone--could she have done such an act?


Posted Sep. 25, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
LReads

Join Date: 06/23/12

Posts: 27

RE: Was this story believable? Does it matter?

Sadly while the story may be a bit implausible I think that dementia and its ramifications was described very well and in that sense it was both a compelling and believable. The story line really seems like a vehicle to take while the reader learns about the dementia itself and, for that reason, I feel it really isn't that important.


Posted Nov. 16, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Santa Fe Cowgirl's Gravatar
Santa Fe Cowgirl

Join Date: 04/14/11

Posts: 26

RE: Was this story believable? Does it matter?

Yes, the story was believable! I really liked the way the author told the story from the Doctor's point of view. You could see the confusion of the doctor, how the doctor was suffering from not being able to recall things that happened just minutes before. It is so unforunate that people who suffer dementia cannot even entertain them selves by reading or watching TV. As an avid book reader, I would be devastated by not being able to read. It must be very hard for a care-giver, especially a related care-giver, to see this happen. After putting my grandfather in a care facility for dementia, my grandmother got him released! Finally after the city attorney threatened placement in a state facility, my grandmother left him in the facility near her home and eventually ended up in the same facility herself.


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